Lockheed Martin to launch satellites from Shetland Islands
The government has approved Lockheed Martin’s plans to move its satellite launch operations to the Shetland Islands.
The decision is a major step forward in plans to build a spaceport on the archipelago to support the country’s commercial space ambitions.
It is hoped that the Shetland Space Centre will support 605 jobs in Scotland by 2024, with an extra 150 expected to be created through wider manufacturing and support services.
The new spaceport is being developed on Unst, the northernmost of the Shetlands.
Lockheed is currently in discussions with a preferred partner to provide launch services for its UK Pathfinder Launch.
Plans to build another similar facility at Sutherland in Scotland are also going ahead.
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Science minister Amanda Solloway said: “The potential to have multiple spaceports in Scotland demonstrates the scale of our ambition, and I want to support industry by pressing ahead with our plans during this challenging time.
“We want the UK to be the best place in Europe to launch satellites, attracting innovative businesses from all over the world and creating hundreds of high-skilled jobs.”
From 2024 it is hoped that there will be around 30 launches a year from the site.
Iain Stewart, minister for Scotland, said: “Our investment in Scottish spaceports is creating hundreds of secure and skilled jobs for people in Scotland.
“The Shetland Space Centre is a huge step forward for our ambitious UK Spaceflight programme.”
The site at Sutherland in the Highlands is expected to support 60 high-skilled jobs, and 250 jobs in the wider area.